The pace of Canadian feeder pig imports into the United States has not slowed, according to Mike Brumm, University of Nebraska Extension swine specialist.

The current rate of imports suggest as many as 4.4 to 4.5 million Canadian feeder pigs will be imported into the United States this year. Here are the numbers on Canadian feeder pig exports to the United States.

Year    13wk total  Yearly total
2000    521,648     2.27 million
2001    682,566     3.14 million
2002    953,800     3.94 million
2003    1,056,575   ?

On the other hand, imports of slaughter hogs continue to be less than the three-year average. Here are the numbers for slaughter hogs coming to the United States from Canada.

Year    13 wk. Total    Yearly total
2000    441,548         1.96 million
2001    489,436         2.03 million
2002    578,247         1.90 million
2003    430,092         ?

It is possible that Canadian packing plants are looking to keep slaughter more Canadian hogs at home. Maple Leaf Foods, for example, could increase capacity with little difficulty.

The continued prevalence of Canadian feeder pigs coming to the United States raises many questions for both countries, particularly with mandatory country-of-origin labeling looming in 2004. Under COOL regulations hogs born in Canada and slaughtered in the United States would have to be segregated at the packing plant and labeled differently than pork from hogs born, raised and slaughtered in the United States. Some packing plants have expressed concern about buying Canadian-born hogs because of the additional costs.